Effectiveness of the Opening Chapter to Great Expectations Essay

Effectiveness of the Opening Chapter to Great Expectations Essay

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Charles Dickens ?Great Expectations? was written during the 19th century, published in weekly installments in a magazine. The novel is based around Pip, the opportunities he is presented with and the difficulties he has to face. In the first chapter we are introduced to Pip, and Magwitch, an escaped convict. The theme of crime and punishment immediately draws us in. Dickens uses a number of techniques to ensure the readers continuing interest, such as pathetic fallacy, metaphor, themes, symbolism, and adjectives.
When the convict appears, Dickens describes him using powerful word such as ?stung? ?glared? ?growled? ?terror? and ?savage? which immediately grabs the readers attention. Pip is described here as ?the small bundle of shivers growing afraid of it all and beginning to cry? which makes the reader feel sympathy and encourages them to read on to find out what happens next.
Pathetic fallacy is used in the first chapter as the windy cold gloomy marshes in which Pip first encounters the convict are perceived as a fearful, sinister place.
In chapter 1 we are introduced to Pip, an orphan, and Magwitch, a convict, the two main characters and who the novel is based around. The events are described by Pip, the protagonist, whom we immediately feel sympathy for. Dickens writes ?My father's family name being Pirrip, and my Christian name Philip, my infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip? ? his innocent childish tendencies appeal to the reader and makes them want to read on. As Dickens describes the bleak marshes in which Pip encounters the convict, a sinister, gloomy picture is painted in the readers mind. This is reinforced by the convicts threatening behavior towards Pip, as he threa...


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...oung Pip and uses his power to his advantage when commanding him to do things for him. Pip is left weak and powerless.
?Parents and children?, another theme is shown during the first chapter, when Pip describes how his parents and five brothers died and he was brought up by his elder sister. The theme is revisited, concerning Ms Havisham, who adopted Estella when she was a baby and raised her as her own daughter.
After reading the first chapter, the reader is left on a cliffhanger, and with unanswered questions. Will Pip keep his terrifying meeting with the convict a secret? Will he do what he has ordered him to do? How will their relationship develop? Dickens uses a variety of methods and techniques effectively, the reader is immediately drawn in. The techniques Dickens uses grab the readers attention and encites them to continue reading the rest of the novel.

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